Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Collaboration Still

I was a little bit uncomfortable with the recent decision of Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, two candidates for the senatorial race belonging to the progressive Left, to ride as guest candidates on the political wagon of the Manny Villar-Loren Legarda tandem (as shown in the photo above this entry).

This recent collaboration between “militant forces” and “reactionary politicians” reminded me of a sample ballot, actually a campaign material, from left-wing groups in Occidental Mindoro endorsing certain local candidates last 2007. Today, rumors are still spreading that a certain political faction or its key leaders are backed-up by the remaining leftist personalities in the province. And vice-versa.

But do the “national democrats” seriously support such candidates or they are just using their voting blocs to wangle funds and other logistics from seasoned or traditional politicians? For the record, militant party-list groups got the highest number of votes among their rivals in the last election. I firmly believe that Ocampo and Maza can win independently without any backing from traditional politicians. With full support of the people even those who are not members of any militant organization.

But please don’t get me wrong. I am for the open participation of ALL social forces in democratic processes such as elections. In 1987, I campaigned for the senatorial slate of Partido ng Bayan or PnBnamely, Bernabe "Dante" Buscayno, Crispin Beltran, Jose Burgos, Romeo Capulong, Horacio “Boy” Morales, Nelia Sancho and Jaime Tadeo. I have high respect for individuals who emanate from the masses or from legitimate pro-people movements joining the legal and non-violent means like the electoral race. Even most of the time they are targets of malicious labeling from hostile security or elite sectors. Nationalists who are for people’s power, genuine land reform, nationalist industrialization, human rights, free education, women’s rights, self-determination, repudiation of US-sponsored bloodbath and non-aligned foreign policy.

In 2007, specifically in Sablayan town, anti-Communist propaganda were painted in every corner of said municipality with this slogan : “Gabriela and Bayan Muna, Party List of the CPP-NPA-NDF!” CPP-NPA-NDF refers to Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front. The propaganda was perhaps launched by civilian rightist groups in our place or from the military itself. But it is not my intention here to disclose my opinion on the allegation that been lobbed since time in memoriam but still remain what it is : just an allegation.

But is there any possibility that a particular local political leader or his group, in one way or another, forged and continue to establish linkages or support the Communist insurgents in our locality? How many of our politicians willingly submit to Permit to Campaign (PTC) fees being imposed by the so-called “enemies of the state”? Was the collaboration only during elections? I don’t know.

Just imagine, in case the traditional politician wins, it is highly probable that s/he use government machinery, public resources and the taxpayers money to secretly support each endeavor of the armed extremists in exchange of votes coming from their mass base during elections. On the other hand, the police and the military could also be used (or was it being used already?) by,- say, an incumbent politician that would result to militarization and blatant violation of basic human rights of citizens that they are supposed to protect and to serve. Or even used as private armies in order to be at par with his/her political rival who are identified with said non-state armed groups. In a situation where armed agents and entities are identified to a certain political group, it is the majority of the people that would suffer most. The common people from the countryside, the upland community dwellers, the ordinary, unpoliticized citizens and voters. Are they going to sacrifice our lives and limbs for their own political ambitions? Wasn’t it treason or terrorism to the highest degree?

When I aired this sentiment to a ND friend some years back, she responded with ideological lecturing summed up to what she calls as “tactical collaboration” and “strategic collaboration”. Without understanding her long explanation I retorted back , “But it’s a collaboration still!” To tell you, call me dumb if you wish but its one of many things I do not understand in party politics up to now. For me its treachery to the people, to the other party, to your own party and even to your self. It’s plain and simple opportunism. Correct, opportunism is the art or practice of taking advantage of opportunities or circumstances, or of seeking immediate advantage with little regard for ultimate consequences. With this, opportunism for me in whatever form is not acceptable. Opportunism is not and will never be a positive and desirable value. Besides, according to Lucius Annaeus Seneca and Stephen Crane: “Every sin is the result of a collaboration."

My bias on this issue of “tactical collaboration” and “strategic collaboration” now centers on this line of thought I’ve learned just recently from one of the Church’s Social Teachings : “The value of any political goal stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes. It can be manipulated for reasons of power. Democratic practices without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism, regardless of ideological principles and leanings that its sponsors believe in.” Also, I am more concerned with the truthfulness of any relation,- be it hostile or friendly, than dwell with its technicality. I’m saying this taking the risk of being branded as Clerico- facist.

But the truth is, I am unfortunately not a systematician (if there is such a word referring to the laity) and it’s naturally hard and difficult for you to understand me. I’ve never been a political strategist, a tactician or a theorist (now I’m sure that these words refer to everyone) that is why I am seeing this thing from this odd and narrow angle. And I apologize for that. Also, that is why we are called TORATs by the ITITs during our prime.

TORATs stands for Task Oriented Rats,- while ITITs is short for Ivory Tower Intellectuals and Theorists…

(Photo from www.pagodkanaba.com)


  1. The decision of Ka Satur and Liza Maza is severely criticized by many. But this decision is for the common good. Do you think Ka Satur and Liza Maza could campaign in highly militarized zone? For example in Occidental Mindoro? The two are being demonized by the idiotic military and even by the police. By collaborating with Villar and Legarda doesn't mean they are into bandwagon politics or they are supporting the reactionary platforms of the two. In fact, Ka Satur and Liza might be influential in changing the landscape of the Philippine politics.

  2. I have my translation of the English word "collaboration". It is "gamitan" -- as in, I scratch your back, you scratch mine (MS).

  3. @MS - your translation reminds me of a penemovie years back. He,he, he...

  4. Noong kasikatan ng mga pene-movies -- na sinuportahan ni Marcos para malipat ang pansin lalo na daw ng mga kalalakihan mula sa pang-aabuso ng gobyerno sa mga bagay na Freudian -- di pa kasi ako tinatanggap sa mga sinehan. E, sa aming bayan, noong mga panahong yun wala pa ring vcd players...
    Samantalang si Norman noong mga panahong yun ay nasa bente na ang edad, kaya labas-masuk na sa mga sinehan lalo na sa Green Cinema....
    hehehe (MS)